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  • 1.  COUNTY APPRAISER CALLED ASKING QUESTIONS - What do other owners share (or not share)?

    Posted 01-06-2023 09:39 AM
    Hello all. I received a call from our County Appraisal office asking for information about our facility followed up by an email. The appraiser's response in email was this...

    "I essentially am looking for a breakdown of the size, number and rent of your various units, as well as occupancy and whether they are climate controlled.  You will also see a section for expenses. Any of this information is very helpful in accurately appraising your property. But if you don't have all the information requested, just please list what you do have."

    His response to my question on how we are valued. 

    "Facilities like yours are valued on the "income approach". It is based on market rent and market expenses…and market cap rate. Most of that is done by analyzing these surveys and market analysis on cap rates. So we ask all of these type of businesses to supply as much information as possible so that we can make accurate decisions."

    For your owners, is this common (appraisal office calling to ask for all this information)? I have received advise of "just ignore the request" BUT we did just open in September 2022. We are at about 39% occupancy and need about 50-53% to break even. I am wondering if it would, in fact, be beneficial to provide this information, given we are still running in the negative (growing but not making money yet), in terms of valuing us for tax purposes.

    Any advise on how much or not to share would be appreciated. Example...there is a place to list certain expenses. His list, with blank spaces to fill in, does NOT account for all expenses our business has so should I provide a separate, all-inclusive list to show true cost of operating expenses versus what we are making at this point in revenue?

    Ryan Stalling
    Steel Roots Storage LLC
    Waxahachie TX
    (972) 921-7309

  • 2.  RE: COUNTY APPRAISER CALLED ASKING QUESTIONS - What do other owners share (or not share)?

    Posted 01-06-2023 11:07 AM
    Edited by Paul Lash 01-06-2023 11:09 AM


    Trash it. I can see how you think since you're at 39% occupancy (BTW the assessment date is January 1st of each year) would help you, but it won't. They will just place a value on your property based on their comparable properties.

    When you do get your Value Notice, probably in May, protest the value, unless you feel the value is reasonable or lower than you believe it should be. If so, do nothing and consider yourself lucky. If you do file a protest, the Central Appraisal District (CAD) will contact you wanting to schedule an informal meeting with an appraiser. I wouldn't bother with that, just go to the Appraisal Review Board (ARB). Because if you do go to an informal meeting, you won't get what you want and they will tell you, "I can't lower it to what you want, but the ARB can." Which is true.

    You mentioned the list does not account for all expenses, this will be important at the ARB hearing. There will be 2 discrepancies between you and the CAD:

    Expenses. The CAD will want to exclude certain expenses that you will want to include.

    Capitalization Rate. The CAD will want to use a lower Cape Rate than you think is appropriate.

    They will use their market data and certain industry appraisal manuals to support their conclusions. Simply keep telling the ARB that you're presenting actual data and explain why an investor would consider all the expenses and Cape Rate you're claiming in valuating your facility.

    Remember this formula:


    Rate x Value

    This is a 3-way formula, but since value is your goal, Income divided by Rate equals value.

    If you feel uncomfortable going to the ARB, you can always hire a Property Tax Consultant based on contingency. You shouldn't have to agree to more than 33% contingency.

    There's probably information on the TSSA site that explains this more thoroughly.

    I hope I'm stating the obvious, just wanted to cover everything.


    Paul Lash
    Sandy Beach Boat *RV* Self Storage
    Azle TX
    (817) 889-6762

  • 3.  RE: COUNTY APPRAISER CALLED ASKING QUESTIONS - What do other owners share (or not share)?

    Posted 01-07-2023 09:38 AM
    Hi All
    I would agree with Paul to an extent. You should not give too much information however my experience was a little different. The appraisal district called me and told me that they were using Austin metrics to valuate my facility that is rural. At the time I was not fully occupied and I was forced to prove my point with reports from my software. They did back down After that experience I did hire a property tax consultant and pay 25% of the savings. This has proven to not only help my stress level but be very advantageous in fighting the values.

    Hope this helps!

    Jeanne Dube
    Solid Ground Storage
    505 W US HWY 290
    Elgin, Tx 78621

  • 4.  RE: COUNTY APPRAISER CALLED ASKING QUESTIONS - What do other owners share (or not share)?

    Posted 01-08-2023 11:08 AM
    Ryan, welcome to Ellis County.  The CAD here is more than aggressive...they are oppressive.  Any information you share will be used against you and the rest of us in the industry.   Fight the valuation annually to keep it as low as you can.  The income approach is one path to valuation and there are others.  Ellis County makes up significant values and then makes you defend it by sharing proprietary information to reduce the values.  I'm not a fan of Ellis County and just know that rates will increase all the time to keep up with the taxes.  Its a great market and your facility will do good but the taxes will be a constant thorn.  Sorry...John McAfee

    John McAfee
    The Storage Place - DFW, Frisco
    Frisco TX
    (214) 923-0070

  • 5.  RE: COUNTY APPRAISER CALLED ASKING QUESTIONS - What do other owners share (or not share)?

    Posted 01-09-2023 09:10 AM

    Good morning Ryan,

    I am a property tax consultant and have been for 30 years.  My firm represent over 100 storage facilities in Texas and 300 throughout the United States.  As previously indicated by other respondents, I would strongly advise against responding to the Appraisal District's request.  The CAD is fishing for information to assist in raising your tax assessment and would certainly welcome your assistance.  I always recommend giving the CAD the opportunity to error in your favor, and if they don't, then file a protest and show them where they are wrong.


    A very important thing to note is that the CAD will assess you on a stabilized basis. They are going to perform and income approach based on a stabilized occupancy/income level and would not do a direct capitalization of your income based on 39% occupancy; instead, they would do a below the line rent loss calculation which will not move the needle as much as you would like to see I'm sure.  Another important item to look out for is that with almost certainty the CAD will be utilizing CAP rates from 2021 and 2022 sales comps which without a doubt are not applicable today with the significant increase in interest rates.


    I also must disagree with a previous response about going straight to the formal Appraisal Review Board hearing and skipping the informal protest hearing.  We achieve reasonable results at the informal hearings 75% of the time, and if we don't, at least we gain insight as to the CAD's methodology and evidence.


    If anyone needs assistance with their storage facility protests, please do not hesitate to contact me.




    Mike Eckhoff



    2408 Timberloch Place, Suite B3

    The Woodlands, TX  77380

    Ph  281-466-1599

    Fax 281-465-8629



    P.S. The biggest compliment we can receive is a referral.  Click Here to help your network of connections and peers save on property taxes and increase their bottom line.



  • 6.  RE: COUNTY APPRAISER CALLED ASKING QUESTIONS - What do other owners share (or not share)?

    Posted 01-08-2023 06:06 PM

    I am a property tax consultant and litigator. I have almost always advised clients to decline to share this information with the appraisal district. They will also reach out after sales and ask how much you paid. Keep in mind, Texas is a nondisclosure state. Definitely protest every year. That way you can see what the assessed value is, compare it to other facilities, then determine what you should and should not share with the district or with your property tax professional. 

    Greg Hart

    Greg Hart
    Hart Legal Group
    Austin TX
    (512) 296-1991